From: alra@governance.net
Subject: ESA Coming To A Vote July 20th – Urgent Action Required

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400
Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087
FAX:  (360) 687-2973

ESA Coming To A Vote July 20th – Urgent Action Required

*****See Pombo ESA Bill Talking Points Below

The House Resources Committee will consider a draft bill to update and modernize the Endangered Species Act Wednesday, July 20th.  It could slip a day. 

It is vital that you take action immediately.

Action Items:

-----1.  Call, fax and e-mail your Representative in Congress to urge him or her to prevent the Pombo bill from being watered down.  Any Congressman may be called at (202) 225-3121.  If you don’t have your Congressman’s fax number, just ask when you call.

-----2.  Keep calling Friday and every day next week.  The greens will be doing it to stop the bill.  You’ve got to let your Congressman know that the status quo is not satisfactory.  Action is needed now.  

-----3.  Call at least five friends to urge them to call.

-----4.  Please forward this message as widely as possible.

-----5.  If you are within driving distance of Washington, DC. come to the Rally on Tuesday at noon on the West Capitol lawn and the mark-up session on Wednesday at 10:00 am in the Resources Committee Hearing Room in the Longworth building.

Here are some talking points for the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 (TESRA) drafted by Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo.  (No bill number yet)

-----It’s been 31 years since the Endangered Species Act became law.  Its intentions were good but the reality is that we've done a terrible job of saving and recovering species.  We need to pass this bill (TESRA 2005) to update and modernize ESA so that federal agencies use the best available science in decision-making, incentives exist to encourage landowners to participate in recovery efforts and we involve local, state and tribal governments in the process.

-----Only 10 species in North America have been recovered out of more than 1300 that were listed in the last 31 years.  This rate is unacceptable. TESRA 2005 creates incentives for local, state, tribal and federal governments to develop sound species conservation management plans of their own, puts in place stronger accountability, improved oversight and consistent communication.

-----Less than 1% of listed species has been recovered in 31 years since the Act was made law.  It’s time to update and improve the Act. Under TESRA, species will be managed using "best available scientific information", habitat will be designated after a recovery plan is in place and there will be coordination with local and state governments.

-----The Endangered Species Act is well intended but its 99 percent failure rate in recovering species is unacceptable. We must do better. TESRA 2005 puts in place stronger accountability, improved oversight and consistent communication by requiring all work done with listed species be reported to Congress.

-----It’s time to bring balance into protecting and saving our species.  TESRA 2005 requires that economic impacts and benefits be considered before a final designation of critical habitat.   This is to include landowners' revenue as well as the impact on revenues of local, state, federal and tribal governments.

-----We must do a better job of recovering endangered species without endangering the jobs and livelihoods of American families. TESRA 2005 requires that economic impacts and benefits be considered before final designation of critical habitat.

-----To assure effectiveness, independent scientific review is needed when listing species as endangered and developing recovery plans. TESRA 2005 ensures species are managed under the "best available scientific information" and stipulates that data that have not been made available to the public for review and comment cannot be used in making final decisions.	

-----We must make the Act friendlier to state and local conservation efforts.  TESRA 2005 requires that records on species determination be open to the public for review and comment in those states where the species is believed to occur.

-----With 90% of all listed species being on private lands, we must offer cooperative, incentive based solutions to species recovery.  This bill contains voluntary landowner Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) that are the strongest protection mechanism for species.

-----Our goal is to improve the Act in ways that will help recover more species than the one percent recovery rate over the last 31 years. This bill will do that by setting a recovery plan before designation of  critical habitat, and by requiring that empirical data be used, not hypothetical studies.

-----Unlike the current Act, the updated version will require a plan to help a species recover before it is listed and it separates designation of critical habitat from the listing process.  This bill requires critical habitat be designated either within one year after the approval of a species recovery plan or within three years of listing a species, whichever is earlier. 

-----We need a new approach to recovering endangered species that respects landowners and enhances the role of states.  TESRA 2005 will do that by strengthening cooperation with state, local and tribal governments and allowing states to manage some at-risk species before they become endangered or threatened.

-----Because most of the habitat of listed species is on private land, the bill will uphold the right of citizens to seek just compensation for the "taking" of private property.

For thirty one years, our nation has been trying to save and recover endangered and threatened species of animals and plants.  The passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 was the beginning of an historic effort in our nation’s history to recover species whose numbers were dwindling towards extinction.

The intentions of the ESA were good.  However, the reality of this law is that we’ve done a horrible job in actually saving and recovering species.  In those 31 years, we’ve listed almost 1,300 species of animals and plants as endangered or threatened.  In that same time, we’ve recovered only 10 species!

That’s a success rate of less than 1%.  We can do better!  We must do better!

In the process the ESA has damaged landowners, undermined communities, destroyed jobs and generally turned landowners against species.  

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Landowners need to be allies of species.  The only way to do that is to make the ESA an incentive based program, compensate landowners for their losses related to species recovery and encourage them to want to help species by removing the top down command and control ESA regulations that are undermining our economy and destroying jobs. 

There are several reasons why the ESA has been ineffective in recovering species.  Consider a few:

xxxxx Currently the law does not require a plan to recover a species.  We add a species to the list – but are not required to plan for its recovery.  We spend millions – even billions in taxpayer dollars – but have no roadmap for success.  The law should require such recovery plans before the species is listed.

xxxxx We need to place a greater emphasis on strengthening independent scientific review of species and their habitats.  All too often, federal agencies have relied on poor science without the proper peer review.  In other words, listing decisions have relied too much on “political science” and not enough on “real, independent science”.

xxxxx Private landowners often times have to pay a dear price for species recovery – sometimes with their livelihoods.  With 90% of all listed species being on private lands – we must offer cooperative, incentive-based solutions to species recovery.  Local citizens can solve problems much better than the heavy hand of the federal government!

What needs to be done to improve species recovery?

Next week and the week the U.S. House of Representatives, will consider legislation to improve and modernize the ESA.  First in the Resources Committee on Wednesday, July 20th and then on the House Floor the next week.

Many members of Congress realize that a 1% success rate in species recovery is not good enough.  They also realize that it’s simply not fair to punish landowners by taking their land when an endangered species is present – without offering some form of compensation or incentives for doing everything possible to protect and recover the species.

It boils down to a real need for common sense changes to be made to this well-intended law.

The major environmental groups will criticize this Congressional effort by mis-representing what is trying to be done.  They will say Congress is trying to “gut” the ESA – or that Congress is “trying to pay off their friends in big business” by cutting the heart out of ESA”.

The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth!  If we’re serious as a nation about protecting and recovering species – then we must demand that we do better than 1% success rate!  

A few of our allies will even oppose the Pombo bill because they want more.  They want 100% of their goals or they will not support a bill.  All or nothing.  Of course, in Congress, 100% of anything is never possible.  There always has to be give and take to pass a bill.  You have to get 51% of the votes, and in the Senate, sometimes 60%.   It makes no sense to think that any bill could get 100% of what you and I would like to have in our hearts.  

You need to contact your member of Congress right away and ask him or her to support the Pombo ESA Bill to update the ESA to reflect what we’ve learned from the mistakes of the past 31 years.  We must improve and modernize the Endangered Species Act to actually recover species while not hurting landowners.  

Ask them to be bold and to not be threatened by the powerful, well-funded national environmental organizations who seek to keep the status quo on species protection.

Real people – real communities – real lives have been significantly impacted by the ESA over the past 31 years.  We must bring balance back to the equation so that common sense solutions can be used in recovering species – not endless litigation that have proven to be unsuccessful!

For more information – go to:  www.saveourspeciesalliance.org

This web site will make it easy for you to make comments to your member of Congress.  Please act today!  Time is of the essence.  This legislation will be before the House of Representatives in the next two weeks for consideration.  We need your help now!

Go to www.landrights.org and print out a testimony questionnaire.  Don’t worry about the deadline date.   Just fax it filled out to your Congressman.

Thanks in advance for your efforts to improve a law that after 31 years, needs to be modernized and brought up to the times and technology that we now enjoy.  Thank you for helping stop the madness of top down command and control regulations.  You can make all the difference in the world. 

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

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